Archive for the ‘Los Angeles’ category

LAX Sucks

May 23, 2017

LAX is one huge airport. We arrived home last night after a long non stop flight from Boston. The service was great on Delta and the flight was pretty much on time. Smooth sailing all the way until we got to LAX. That’s when thing went south. 

Our Boeing 737 pulls up to the gate. Seat belt sign goes off and everyone rises to gather their belongings. And then we wait. There was no gate agent to operate the jetway. So finally after 5-10 minutes, the jetway is moved into place and everyone proceeds to exit the aircraft. So were at gate 21 in terminal 2. So I think to myself, this is pretty good, not a long walk to baggage claim. 

So we get on the escalator down to baggage claim. Sign says our luggage will be on carousel 5. There is no carousel 5 in terminal 2. There are carousels 1-4. Carousel 5 we learned is a way down the road in terminal 3. Not good. My legs and feet are killing me. About half way there, we meet some of the people that were on our flight heading back towards terminal 2. So we do an about face and head back to the carousels in terminal 2. They tell us our luggage will not be on carousel 5 but on one of the carousels in terminal 2. So eventually we find our luggage coming down the chute on carousel 2. No notice, no signage.

So with luggage in hand we head out to the street to look for where our shuttle to our parking lot would be. There were signs for rental cars, hotels, etc. but nothing about parking shuttles. We see one of our shuttles fly by, but we were to far away to flag him down, That happened one more time. Feet and legs are getting worse.So eventually we find a small sign that states that parking shuttles are up stairs on the departure concourse. So up the escalator we go. Finally we got on a bus for “Wally Park” only to find out that “Wally Park” and “Wally Park Express” are two different parking lots and shuttles. “Wally Park Express” (which we were looking for) picks up down stairs. ARGGGGG!!!! Nice driver agreed to take us to WPE. I think maybe he was fearing for his life if he didn’t take us. So he took us to our car and he helped us load our luggage into the Jeep.

So we got into the Jeep and settled up with the cashier. Then off we went heading for the 405. We stopped at an In-n-Out burger joint to pick up a hamburger for Paula and a double-double for me. Man it was good to get into my old Jeep. It’s well broken in and comfortable. I was much relieved to turn in the rental Ford Expedition. More about that later. It’s good to be home.

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  Mary

March 13, 2017

Time for an update. On Sunday afternoon Mary and I are sitting at our dining room table. Paula is out walking around the neighborhood. 

So Mary is reading the Sunday newspaper. She sees a full page for the show called “Shen Yun“. Shen Yun is a Chinese music and dance production that tours every year throughout the USA. 

Seeing as our daughter in law is from Taiwan, we tend to be aware of Chinese cultural stuff. So we had taken Mary to see a production about three years ago in downtown LA. It’s a quality production and worth going to see it. But I don’t feel the need to do it again.

So Mary says to me, I’d like to go see this. I then told her that it wasn’t going to happen. I explained to her that we went to see it three years ago with you. Do you remember? Of course not.

I try to explain to her that the production is downtown LA at the Dorothy Chandler pavilion and parking is difficult. Even with her HP placard, there would be a lot of walking and lots of steps.  She doesn’t handle walking long distances well. And it is especially difficult for her at night when the way forward is not any too clear.

So I tell her that prices range from $70-$200 per person. The cheap seats are in the balcony and she certainly wouldn’t be able to navigate to that locale. I told her not going to happen. Not on my watch. As it stands right now, she has to sit and rest while walking to the elevator which is about 20 yards.

At this point she breaks down and starts to sob. I try to tell her that until you can manage the little stuff you can’t do the big stuff. Mary has a habit of canceling at the last minute if she is feeling dizzy (which is most all of the time). So it would be high likelihood that we wouldn’t go and get stuck with cost of three tickets to the show.

One of the really nasty things about dementia is that steals away a lifetime of memories. Much as we try to show her pictures of her. They do little good to remind her of what she once was. Very sad.

I guess the crying and sobbing was her thoughts on her current situation. I.e. Going downhill. We try to push her some to get up out of bed and do things but the call of the bed is very strong. As time goes by, she is doing less and less. This month she will not be going to the Assistance League luncheon. She used to always go and get her hair done before. Now, it doesn’t happen.

In other news, we have found a couple of friends (one from church, one of my Lodge brothers) willing to come stay with Mary while Paula and I go to a movie. Truly a God send. And, flight reservations have been made and paid for our annual trip to Boston in May. We have requested care givers from a local agency for the week that we will be gone. We so look forward to this trip to get back east to see many of our East coast friends. 

TTFN

Joe

Santa Ana’s

February 1, 2017

This a story about a weather pattern in Southern California called the Santa Ana winds. This story is primarily for my readers who don’t live in the greater Los Angeles area. This is when the winds are blowing out of the east north-east. This happens when there is a high pressure system parked over Washington State or Oregon. In a high pressure system, the winds blow clockwise around the system (in the northern hemisphere).

That means for the folks in our neck of the woods, the winds are blowing out of the East Northeast over the Mojave Desert.  The Mojave is between LA and Las Vegas. When this happens in the summer it can be brutally hot and windy.

When it happens this time of the year, it means the rain stops and we get clear dry winds. Temps the last couple of days have been the low 70’s.

The winds also blow all of the smog out to sea. That means visibility is greatly improved. One can see the mountains east and north of LA. The picture above is the view from our Masonic Lodge in San Pedro. If you look closely, you can see the snow capped mountains.

Oh one more thing, we’ve been getting a lot of rain lately out here. That means all of the brown grass has turned into green grass. Green is beautiful!

Wild Fire

July 25, 2016

Well, it occurred to me that our friends back east might be wondering whether we were affected by the current wild fires in Southern California. The current fire that is called the “Sand Fire” is big in the news out here. I am not always quite sure how the locals come up with a name for a fire. But they’re fighting the fire, they can name it whatever they want. 

The local hour long news this evening spent about 45 minutes covering the fire. Then the national news led the program with news about fire in Southern California. Okay, Los Angeles is a huge area. LA County is about as big as Rhode Island.

So here’s a map of Greater Los Angeles.


We live down near Long Beach which is mostly an urban area. Not much chance of wild fire. The current fire (called the “Sand Fire”) is up near Santa Clarita. The 14 freeway that runs from Simi Valley to Palmdale has been shut down due to the fire. Many people have been evacuated due to the fire.

There is certainly a risk to owning a home up near the mountains especially now due to the drought. Risk is much less for us down south in an urban setting.  A lot of the people that live up there own wild stock, horses and the like. So, evacuating is not easy.

Date Night

April 24, 2016

Jungle BookSaturday was date night. We really needed to get out without Mom even if only for a couple of hours.

So, we went to see the movie “The Jungle Book“. I guess we are getting cheap in our old age. Jungle Book was available in iMax 3D, Regular 3D and old plain 2D. 2D was $7 a person for Seniors. iMax was $17. We did the old fashioned 2D. Characters were voiced by Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and many more fine actors and actresses.

The film is rated PG and rightly so. There are parts that are pretty violent and might be a bit scary for little kids. I wouldn’t take a kid to see it under the  age of 8 or 9.

We loved it. We went to a 4:45 showing and there were a lot of families with kids in the theater. I particularly liked Baloo voiced by Bill Murray where he starts singing the “Bare Necessities”. We also liked the scenes with King Louie.

Here’s the Bill Murray version from Youtube. I will be playing this tune at Lodge in a couple of weeks.

When you compare this version with earlier versions you can readily see how far the animation technology has come. This film was filmed completely in Los Angeles.

I would give the film 8.5 stars out of 10. We loved it.

And by the way, you can download the Kindle version of the Rudyard Kipling Book from Amazon for $.99. What a deal.

Now for dinner part of date night. We had hoped to try the Hopsaint Brewery restaurant in Torrance. Saturday night was not a good time. We couldn’t even find a parking space. We’ll try another time when it might be less busy.

We came up with a plan B. We decided to go to the “San Franciscan” in Torrance. I was itching to have a good steak. We don’t have a barbeque grill at our place (forbidden my HOA). It was busy too, but at least we found a parking space. Had to wait 20 minutes for a table.

I had a 9 oz Filet Mignon. Paula had something called a “Drunken Sam”. The menu descrbes it as

“Filet mignon, pan fried in burgundy wine and brandy. Served atop fried eggplant and topped with an Ortega chile and jack cheese”

I had a taste. It was very good. Paula cleaned her plate. This is not fancy and the decor is rather plain but food is excellent. This is our place to go to when we have a hunger for steak.

Rain

January 10, 2016

This post is intended for my friends on the east coast. It is raining in Los Angeles. It has been raining off and on for last couple of weeks. It’s been snowing in the mountains. This is good for us. That doesn’t mean that I like it.

So I am a “blow-in”. I moved to San Pedro in the summer of 2012. The term “blow-in” is a somewhat derogatory term used in many suburban towns in Massachusetts. A “blow-in” is some one who has blown in from somewhere else and insists that they know how things ought to be run.

The opposite of a “blow-in” is a “townie”. A townie is someone who has lived there all their life along with their parents and the parent’s parents. A townie has had the same teachers in school as their parents.

But I digress. Back to the subject at hand, rain. Up until last week, I hadn’t seen rain in the better part of a year. I had almost forgotten how to turn on my windshield wipers. I had to dig out the umbrella from the back of my Jeep.

One way, we can tell if we have had a rainy winter is that one can see green grass growing on the hillsides. The same grass will be golden brown by August. This rain probably won’t mean the end to the drought, but it will help.

As many of you have heard that our rain is due to El Nino this year. El Nino changes the jet stream such that low pressure systems that would normally turn left at the Pacific coast and head up to Washington and Oregon. Now the low’s head right for LA.

In Mass. one never sees  any old VW beetles. They have all rusted away. In LA, 30 year old beetles are common. No rain means no rust.

The other effect of the rain is mud. After the wild fires in the summer, all of the vegetation is gone. So when it rains in the winter, there is nothing to hold the earth in place. The end result is mud slides. A very nasty mess.

I will close with a humorous video I recently found on youtube about how LA people react to the news of rain.

Grammy Museum

November 2, 2015

2015-11-01 15.52.32 HDR-2It’s been a busy weekend here in LA. Paula, Andrea and I went to church then lunch at the Gaffey Street Diner. We then went home so that Paula could check on her mother. Then we headed to the Grammy Museum in downtown LA. We wanted to see the Frank Sinatra exhibit. The Grammy museum is located downtown near the Staples Center and the LA Convention Center. There was some sort of event at the convention center. It was some sort of comic-con event. Lots of people dressed in strange costumes. We thought, oh oh parking may be a challenge.

Not so, we got into a parking lot nearby for $10 for three hours. So we got in for $10.95 for senior tickets. Nobody ever cards us to prove we are older than dirt. This is the second time we’ve been to the Grammy museum. Three floors of recording star memorabilia. Always interesting. The displays change from time to time.

We had been here a few months ago to see the exhibit on Whitney Houston. A very sad event indeed. Usually they start you on the fourth floor and work your way down. The Sinatra exhibit was on the second floor. That’s where we started.

There was lots of Sinatra memorabilia from the early days to the later period. They were showing a short video in the Clive Davis theater of a Sinatra concert. Here are some pictures.

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Here’s a youtube link to Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York”

After we were done with the Sinatra exhibit we went up stairs to look at the exhibits on “The Supremes”. Here are some pictures. I loved the gowns.

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And finally a youtube clip from the Supremes.